Phone home: Indie Chromium browser Vivaldi goes mobile

Hands On The independent browser team based on Chromium Vivaldi has finally issued a mobile client.

The Android application has taken a long, long time. CEO Jon von Tetzchner told us in 2016 that something was in process. The gang was still working on it last year, and Von Tetzchner admitted that the first iteration would be "relatively simple."

And now, finally, the first version has fallen. We got our claws in a copy over the weekend, and turned it on in a Samsung Galaxy S10e, with Android 9, although it should work on Android 5 onwards.

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First impressions are, well, it's a browser, isn't it? We did not find any problem, compatibility or performance in terms of daily use and, to be honest, with the rendering engine from Chromium, that is not a big surprise.

However, since this is Vivaldi's browser, it is also free of the creepiest trends of Google. It does not use the core of Google’s Android web browser and the company prides itself on “we’re not tracking you”.

In fact, there are no signs of Chrome sync here. While Vivaldi keeps a user's configuration synchronized on the desktop and mobile device, assuming the user has a Vivaldi account, that configuration is end-to-end encrypted, which means that while the data will lurk on servers The company can't see it.

The company's servers are located in Iceland, instead of floating in a third-party cloud. Von Tetzchner explained the thinking behind the location: "We like to keep them in one place for simplicity, security and privacy. By using our own servers, we have the best control."

In response to a question about some users who prefer to choose where their data is stored, he simply told us: "It would quickly become really complicated with servers in many locations."

Concerned users simply cannot use the synchronization process, or choose a synchronization. selection that includes Bookmarks, Speed ​​dials, saved passwords and autocomplete information, History (with only written URLs) and Notes.

For a first version, the browser has all the functions in an impressive way. Those who are used to the desktop version will feel at home, with Speed ​​Dials and family bookmarks. The address bar works correctly with a variety of search engines (our default trial version is Bing, but a user can change providers in the address bar) and the company is very satisfied with its Notes functionality, which allows the User add, er, notes without skipping the application.

We are not sure of this last feature: there are many good tools for taking notes that will be happily synchronized on the devices, but it is useful, especially if you are worried about where that data might end.

Overall, this is a solid first version and will greatly facilitate the lives of the company's desktop clients, who could have cast a strange look of envy at their colleagues using Chrome with their Happy Browsing Sync. The inclusion of familiar features for fans of the app's older brother will also be attractive.

However, the mobile navigation market on Android is crowding lately, particularly with Microsoft's Chromium-based browser, Edge, which attracts attention. 19659002] And then, of course, there's all Apple. Von Tetzchner told us that the priority at this time was Android. "We can reuse the code on Android and use the same code base," he said, adding: "Apple doesn't allow us to use the same code on iOS, so it requires a lot more work to deliver on that platform." [19659002] However, iOS fans should not lose all hope. The gang hopes to have a version available on the Cupertino platform "sometime in the future" but, well, don't hold your breath: "Ideally, Apple would allow us to reuse our code, but our goal is to make it happen." anyway. "

The company added that a version with a user interface more suitable for tablets was in process.

And that long-awaited email client? A spokesman told us that" the goal is [to] get it out soon ". ®

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